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Report: Apple engineer warned of iPhone antenna problem last year

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 15 Jul 2010 15:31 User comments (16)

Report: Apple engineer warned of iPhone antenna problem last year According to an article from Bloomberg, anonymous sources are claiming Apple was aware of the iPhone 4's antenna design problem months before it went on sale.
One source at Apple, reportedly said senior Apple enginner and antenna expert Ruben Caballero brought the issue to the attention of management as early as last year. Another source indicated that one of Apple's carrier partners raised similar concerns prior to last month's launch.

Apple has declined to make Caballero available for comment on the matter. Hardly surprising considering the company's long established policy of secrecy regarding all internal matters.

Since the iPhone 4's debut there have been numerous complaints about reception problems related to its external antennas. To date they've characterized it as nothing more than a typical issue experienced with all mobile phones despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary.

Every iPhone launch has been followed by a certain number of people complaining of reception issues. But in this case those voices are being joined by more influential sources like Consumer Reports.

Although this doesn't seem to have resulted in any significant impact on iPhone sales, Apple's stock price took a hit after Consumer Reports indicated they could not recommend the iPhone 4 to their readers.

Apple has a press conference scheduled for tomorrow where they may be planning to address the issue.

They previously announced an update which will improve the accuracy of signal strength display, but have continued to insist that there is no design problem.

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16 user comments

115.7.2010 15:51

I can't believe how much play this has gotten...

Jesus... Get some clear nail polish and cover the area up!!!

It was funny on Apple for a while but now I'm just sick of it.

215.7.2010 16:17

Apple just like to rip ppl off, they knew that this would happen, and still let it happen. selfish bastards who don't think of their consumers.

315.7.2010 18:57

This just gets more and more sad.

416.7.2010 0:02

Yeah; I am sure that someone said, "No one will ever pay $30 for a thin piece of rubber that looks & feels bad, does not protect anything, and does not fit tightly...isn't it enough to sell this $0.10 piece of trash for $10?" which Steve Jobs replied, "You need this to make phone calls, they will pay whatever we tell them to."

516.7.2010 2:01

OK now if this is truth then this is messed up. If they knew about this before they sold it that's just piss poor. It's one thing to go "oops" but it's different if they said "screw it, lets see what happens"

Originally posted by KillerBug:
Yeah; I am sure that someone said, "No one will ever pay $30 for a thin piece of rubber that looks & feels bad, does not protect anything, and does not fit tightly...isn't it enough to sell this $0.10 piece of trash for $10?" which Steve Jobs replied, "You need this to make phone calls, they will pay whatever we tell them to."
The bumper is actually hard plastic on the outside, rubber on the inside and around the edges. The rubber is about twice as thick as a normal rubber band. It fits very tightly on the phone and actually makes the phone more comfortable to use and hold. Feels more secure in your hand. It doesn't make the phone look ugly. I think it looks better without the bumper but that's just an opinion. IMO the type of cases that cover the entire phone are ugly. It also protects just fine. Unless you plan on laying it on jagged rocks, the raised rubber edges keep the glass on either side from touching anything and the plastic is just as tough as any other case you might buy. What more could you really ask for except a cheaper price. Apple's prices are outrageous.

616.7.2010 5:59

That's better than I thought; the old apple "bumper" was made of rubber that was so loose and squishy that you almost had to glue it to the phone. Still, you should not need a case to make phone calls.

The "ugly" comment was not actually my opinion, but my that of my dumb friend that waited in line to buy one on launch day. He was all enthusiastic about how the metal bands on the side look "super cool"...when he heard that the bumper would fix his problems, he said, "Holding funny might look dumb, but not as dumb as that bumper." The only reason he hasn't tried nail polish yet is that he is waiting for the update, with the hope that Apple will turn up the power to the antenna so that the signal isn't blocked so easily...I was the one who gave him that dumb idea...but (based on this article), if Apple was going to do that, they would have done it before release.

For my personal appearance preferences, I think the iPhone styling has always been rather "nintendo looking" (IMHO, that is a bad thing), and the new style looks like if you put chrome on a nintendo (IMHO, the only way to make a wii look worse). I respect that there are a lot of people that think this looks really good, and I am fine with that. The problem is that the appearance is the main selling point of the iPhone4...if someone is willing to stand in line, pay $200 (or more if they already have a 3GS), and sign a contract for a phone that does nothing new other than video calling that they won't use, they must be buying the appearance...and putting the bumper on there destroys that makes it look slightly better in my mind, but my mind would never buy an iPhone...the minds that buy iPhones tend to want their phone to look like an iPhone...and not just any iPhone, the latest iPhone.

716.7.2010 10:50

You just wait and see if Jobs doesn't use this engineer as a scapegoat and fire his ass (if that hasn't already been done) simply because this document was leaked to the public. Jobs has got be furious at this (ha ha), and I wouldn't be surprised if he fires the whole engineering department because of this. It's never ever good to release defective parts and defective products, especially if you deny that they even exist in the first place. BP is a good example of this, and we saw what happened. Reality is that even though Jobs will finger point other people as their fault, they'll still sell defective products with their sweet words and the public will believe him and he will rake in the cash. Sad but true unfortunately.

816.7.2010 11:23

Only about an hour and a half to go before the press conference since this message is posted. Should be an interesting one. *wonders if people will start throwing cases at Jobs, that'd be amusing*

916.7.2010 19:49

Consider this when apple denied there was a issue.
Why was it the day after the new phone was launched they then launched the bumper (over priced band aid) to solve the issue THE NEXT DAY?

Now you dont have to be a rocket scientist to work out they knew there was an issue seeing as Steve (aids looking) Jobs refused to give out the dimensions of the new iphone to 3rd party companies untill after the launch to prevent 3rd party addons hitting the market before the iphone 4.

So with that knowledge how on earth can you mass produce and have in store just one day later a bumper case for $30.00.



And for those who dont get it yet, you can not fix the antenna issue with a software update.

All the update will do is stop all the bars vanishing when you have the finger covering the death spot.

Your still loose your call, it will still have no reception, but hey, ur still have some nice bars on the top of your display screen.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 16 Jul 2010 @ 19:50

1017.7.2010 3:48

How typical of management and companies today. First of all they want yes people, even experts in a field must be yes people because once management gets something in its mind, NO matter how wrong they are, there is no rocking the boat. If you do so you’re not a team player, your insubordinate, your difficult and you may get fired if you appose their idea, especially the more right you are. Here’s the flip side; if the engineer goes onboard with the poor design he can be in a bad position as well because it is also typical that a company/management will then say that it was his idea, he said it would work, therefore it is his fault, and now they dump him for his mistake that they basically forced on him.

Here is the kicker, just like the recent motor companies they won't address the real problem properly because they feel it cost too much, so instead they take cheaper avenues. But the kicker is, in the long run they will have to deal with the real issue and because of their poor approach to correcting the problem will even costs more to the company now, had they approached it properly and bit the bullet it would be cheaper overall and their customers would be happier as well. Greed and power clout their judgment and they just won't learn and as they make more money, and the more power they gain, the problems worsens.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 17 Jul 2010 @ 3:52

1117.7.2010 4:10

I think the automotive angle is very apt; right now Apple is like GM in the early 1970's...and Android is like Honda; slowly taking over through better quality and prices.

1217.7.2010 9:15

You guys should check this out:

It shows how much effort, time n money into it. Yet, they still fail. I dont get it >.<

1317.7.2010 9:16

This is how it should be to fix it:

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 17 Jul 2010 @ 9:18

1417.7.2010 9:55

I'm surprised nobody got a hint when Job's was "demonstrating" the phone and asked everybody in the audience to turn off their phones because they were interfering with his iPhone4. Apple just gave all the drooling masses what they wanted.

1517.7.2010 14:51

Well, now will all you nay sayers quit making fun of my Blackberry Storm II that has worked flawlessly since day one and only cost me 29.00 as a every two upgrade (from an old BBry I might add). Oh Well, I guess I CAN live without a stevie job after all.

1619.7.2010 5:06

The iPhone series are great fun gadgets however.... I think this is a good thing that the iPhone 4 has major issues. People shouldn't be so surprised as it has happened to all the greats. Microsoft and the Xbox 360, Nintendo with the Wii remote handles, sony with the yellow light of death, upscaling and lack of ps2 emulation on the PS3 and many more....

Companies should test their products properly before being too keen to make money knowingly selling faulty/untested goods. In the end it always costs more to rectify the problem rather than sorting it out pre-production stage. Not to mention it hacks off loyal customers. Nearly £600 for a phone that dont work would really 'P' me off!

Not only has this damaged the iphones success for current & later models, it has set the grounds for someone new to step up and engage apple. The question is who is sensible enough to design a decent handset with the matching apps store?

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